No holiday for busy community patrol
While many organisations are taking a well earned break over Christmas and New Year, the community patrol remains hard at work.
Matamata Community Patrol chair Brian Hunter says apart from the few stat days from Christmas Day to New Year, the patrol was working with police and have continued extra patrols during the school holidays.
‘‘Daytime patrols have been operating a few days a week through the school holidays at request of police. They do have difficulties with students on school holiday and with an increase of tourists to Hobbiton, we drive out to Bucklands Road too, just have a look around.’’
The Matamata Community Patrol’s job is to act as the eyes and ears of police. They report any suspicious or obvious criminal activity, but never intervene in any way themselves. They patrol up to a 10-12km radius of Matamata including Waharoa, Walton and Richmond Downs.
‘‘The patrol has been worthwhile, and police say they are very happy with the results,’’ he says.
In previous months Hunter says crime had increased on Sunday nights, but this had slowed down now. He says nearly every patrol has resulted in a report to police or vehicle registration numbers are recorded.
‘‘Often we see windows open for people to gain easy access. If we see a large gathering of people or a party we just let the police know it’s happening so if it escalates they can intervene.
‘‘Whenever we call police, they respond minutes.’’
The 30-strong patrol has been active throughout 2016 and Hunter says more people are always welcome to join. Volunteers range from 20-yearsold and over.
Ideally he says they would like within three-to-five a team of 50 people.
Hunter says the patrol relies on donations from service groups, individuals or businesses and the community have been extremely generous.
On-going costs include the general operating and upkeep of the patrol vehicle which includes pet- rol, registration, WOF and insurance. Hunter says it costs $330 per month just to run the patrol car.
They are also in need of a new cellphone. Their phone is only used for making calls and Hunter says an ideal phone would be basic, easy to use and hardy.